JCSM Student Writing Contest: Caroline Barr

Based on the exhibitions featured at the museum during the 2014-2015 academic year and on works from the permanent collection, JCSM issued a call for written work responding to individual works of art experienced firsthand at JCSM.

Graduate and undergraduate students were encouraged to submit writing of any length, from single poems or personal essays to short stories or seminar papers.

The students selected received prize money and an opportunity to present their work to the public during a museum program. Additionally, students added an online publication credit to their resumes.

We are featuring the winner’s work on the museum website. Please take a moment to read our guest posts from this year’s student writing competition. The museum will once again issue a call for papers for Fall 2015. For more information, contact Scott Bishop, curator of education and university liaison at 334.844.7014.

Untitled Personas by Caroline Barr

Inspired by “Untitled” (groups of drawings/various media on library cards/collection of Molly Day) from “John Himmelfarb: TRUCKS.”

  1. Slide around my gears, slip

tighter so I might turn

blue in your grip. Bump

my lips across the cobblestone.

  1. They finger paint their names

into my ribcage, sometimes scratching

deep enough to wake me,

engines growling in the dark.

  1. My eyes burn with pine stacked

against my skull with heavy whispers

asking for home, their pulpy

wounds fresh and weeping sap.

  1. Tack on to me like a fly

making love to a frog’s tongue,

become part of my collection

you beautiful whirring thing.

  1. I’m building you a house

of beeswax where you’ll sleep

in honeycomb tombs, sink

your teeth into the concrete.

  1. If you look close enough,

you can see Bogart in my

reflection. Press this button

and I’ll sing you raspy like Bacall.

  1. They’ve taken me away

to your museum, a relic

to sit waiting in spotlight,

waiting for your ignition.

  1. You called my name and now

I’m roaring toward your oblivion—

come closer, I’ll try not

to rip the peach of your skin.

  1. We’ve never been so normal

splashing through puddles made

pink with yesterday’s tulips,

pink with the acetone of you.

  1. Sweat clings rung to rung

as wet leaves brush against our

aluminum, sticking like

the fish scales in the backseat.

  1. Let me smother you,

suffocate your veins so

maybe your last green

breath would kiss me full.

  1. This is the resting place

of glimmer and rust warm

against our rubber noses

touching in quiet tightness.

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